Completed Projects

Project Milwaukee World Festival

200 North Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee World Festival

Project Description

The project involves the financing of the Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. a nonprofit organization that operates the World’s Largest Music Festival, Summerfest, in Milwaukee, WI. The famous music festival has been a staple of Milwaukee tourism since 1968 and brought over 835,679 people to the severely distressed community in 2009 In 2009, Milwaukee World Festival commissioned Forward Analytics, a third party research firm to gage the economic impact of SummerFest; the study found

that in 2009,Summerfest had a total economic impact on the Milwaukee business volume of $81.4 million, comprising $67.1 million in direct impact and a further $114.2 million in indirect impact in 2009.It is estimated that similar numbers were achieved in the summer of 2010, although these numbers have not been provided.

Milwaukee World Festival Inc is seeking $35 million of NMTC allocation, of which they are requesting $15 million from FIRE to make improvements to the south end of the Festival Grounds, and restructure existing debt.

The improvements to the south-end of the festival will include replacing the existing and outdated facilities with a new box office, customer service areas, restrooms and service locations for Summerfest related operations along with the construction of a new Briggs and Stratton stage area and the creation of new vendor locations. The new south gate structure and location will ease ingress and egress to the Festival Grounds during SummerFest and other events and the new Briggs and Stratton stage area is intended to enhance the live music experience of SummerFest patrons and provide more flexibility for use by the Ethnic and Cultural Festivals that occur throughout the festival season at the SummerFest Grounds. 

CDE Alignment

The project is in alignment with First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprise’s (FIRE) emphasis on the redevelopment of Brownfield areas that have multiple distress criteria. The project is not a mixed-use or manufacturing transaction. Additionally, project does not emphasize any known green-build techniques the construction designs. The latter is somewhat offset by the continued use of existing property which avoids green-build and sprawl, which, in itself, is a “green” function. The property is not a conventional community facility in that it is seasonal in nature. However, it does generate quantifiable volume in tourism and is used for a number of cross-cultural venues throughout the festival season, and to this extent may be viewed as a community facility, which is a focused use for the CDE. Hence the project is aligned with CDE mission based on Brownfield and community facility elements. 

Total Project Costs $35,000,000

FIRE NMTC Allocation $15,000,000

NMTC Investor US Bank CDC

Closing Date July 2011

Distress Criteria
  • Brownfield
  • TIF District
  • 2010 FEMA Designated Disaster Zone ?

Community Impacts
  • 1-40 Full-time and 329 FTE sustained positions
  • Creation of 2 Full-time Jobs and 3 FTE positions
  • Creation of 320 Construction Jobs
  • SummerFest generates approximately $4.6 million in sales tax revenue for the State of Wisconsin each year.

FIRE welcomes requests for NMTC’s throughout the year as we work to maintain an active pipeline of viable and potential projects throughout the region. 

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